after every New Year, Humpback Whales arrive in the Socorro Islands
in an annual migration from the cooler waters of Alaska and Canada.
Hundreds of them!
Their migration is an epic journey through
open ocean and thousands of miles, and yet each year they find
the small islands of the Revillagigedos
Archipelago (which we commonly call the Socorro Islands, or simply "The
Some interesting facts about Humpback Whales:
They are LARGE! Humpbacks mature at about
fifteen years of age, and males are 40-42 feet long. Approximately
40 tons or so. Females
are a bit larger, averaging 45-46 feet in length. And many of the
whales have known the Solmar V since birth, as we're entering our
14th year of exploring the Socorro Islands, and our vessel has been
a constant companion during winter months for many of the whales.
So it's not uncommon for them to stop by and say hello during morning
Their life span is estimated at 45-50 years, and the Humpbacks which
come to Socorro for several months each year are there to mate and
typically bear a calf for 11 months, and usually give birth every other year.
Whalers named them "humpbacks" because
of the distinctive way they arch their backs just prior to diving.
They also have the
largest pectoral fins (more than 18 feet long) of any species of
Their courtship and mating rituals are fascinating! Up to fifteen different
males will surround a single female, and pose for her! Upside down, sideways,
and even at the surface. The largest and most dominant males usually prevail.
The plaintive song of the Humpback Whales
is heard on nearly every dive in Socorro during February and March.
The song is complex, and
once heard, never forgotten. The whales change the song each year
for reasons yet to be established by the scientific community.Humpbacks
are also noted for breaching , and this is common during Whaling
Season in Socorro. As is "spy-hopping", or vertically coming
out of the water to take a look at the Solmar V.
Topside encounters are common, and we will often use our tenders
to slowly approach groups of whales during our trips at this time
of year. One minute you're diving with big animals (including the
whales), and during your surface interval or short ride back to the
boat suddenly you're just a few feet away from some of the largest
animals on earth. All on their terms, their conditions.
But this unusual gathering of some of the
world's largest mammals is a welcome addition to our menu of "big animal diving encounters" which
include Giant Mantas, Sharks, Whale Sharks, wild schooling dolphins,
and other fantastic encounters.
Join us if you can.
This article is from the Solmar
V eNEWS Article Archive